I've just realised what a huge range of DACs we have in store. From budget to budget breaking and many between.

If you're a bit new to this and wondering what the hell a DAC is and why the heck you would want one, well let me explain. It stands for Digital to Analogue Converter.

Unlike the days of vinyl (vinyl's totally back by the way), where the tiny grooves in a record are genuine, dinky di analogue, being mechanically formed impressions in a piece of vinyl, digital sources like CD, Mp3 etc are NOT geniune, dinky di analogue.

They started out that way... guitar, voice, piano are all obviously analogue, real world, but at some point in the recording (generally upon entry to the mixing console) they are coverted to digital. This is all well and good but then at the other end, in your stereo system, the digital information on the CD has to be converted back into analogue because at the end of the day...analogue is what your ears hear.

That conversion, back into analogue, is really important and really hard to get right. So an external DAC can make a huge difference to your system.

What can you expect to hear..?

The most obvious improvement is in detail. A good DAC will more convincingly reproduce the finer details and often draws detail out of a disc that you otherwise didn't even know was there.

To my ears, the most noticable difference is normally in the soundstage, the size, depth and breadth of the music. Things open up.

Bass reproduction also improves. Low frequencies can often be messy and clouded but there is detail there and a good DAC finds and controls those lower notes.

Off the top of my head, we have the following DACs and all are on the floor, ready for a demo any day of the week.

Musical Fidelity V Dac $399.

Cambridge Audio DacMagic $499.

Arcam rDac $598.

Cambridge Audio Dac Magic Plus $699.

Musical Fidelity M1 Dac $699.

Rega Dac $999.

Peachtree MusicBox $899.

PS Audio DLink III $999.

Cyrus DAC X $3000.

Bryston BDA1 Dac $3299.

PS Audio Perfect Wave Dac $4299.

But then we also have a stack of CD players with a digital input for use as a DAC, such as...

Audiolab 8200CD $1499.

And even some amplifiers with internals DACs, like...

Leema Pulse III $3695.

DACs DACs DACs everywhere ...

Of course, if with all this information you just short circuited a synapse, you could just come in and buy a record player.

Analogue analogue analogue ...